North East Bytes - Microsoft Technology Usergroup in the North East of England

NEBytes October 2015 - Windows 10 and the Universal Windows App Platform

We are very pleased this month to welcome back the speaking powerhouse of Mike Taulty... Mike will be joining us to talk about the changes in the updated Universal App Platform for Windows 10... Mike will be taking over the whole session and we expect high demand so make sure you register early!

Windows 10 and the Universal Windows App Platform

Windows 10 is a big release for Microsoft. Commodious. Huge. Massive. Colossal. Humongous. ;-)

It’s the end of a journey to unify Windows. It’s the beginning of a journey for developers who want to take advantage of a universal app platform available across all Windows devices.

In this session, we’ll dig into what’s changed in Windows 10 for the Windows app developer. We’ll talk about the Universal App Platform that makes it possible to build code that runs on all Windows devices and about the Extension platforms for code that targets specific device families.

We’ll stay in Visual Studio as much as is possible and we’ll lean towards C# and XAML.

Mike's Bio:

Mike Taulty works in the Developer and Platform Group at Microsoft in the UK where he has spent the past few years helping developers understand and get the best from the Microsoft platform. Prior to this, Mike spent 3 years with Microsoft Consulting Services as a consultant on developer technologies.

Before joining Microsoft, Mike spent the previous 9 years working as a software developer for a number of enterprises, consultancies and software vendors working with a variety of operating system, client, communication and server technologies. You can find more of a complete career history over on LinkedIn.

Mike holds a BSc Hons (1st Class) in Computer Science from the University of Leeds.

Date: Wednesday 21st October 2015

Time: 18:30-20.30


Eventbrite - NEBytes October 2015 - Windows 10 and the Universal Windows App Platform

NEBytes September 2015 - Dapper + Unity

Make your SQL Queries Dapper with Mark Thompson

Mark says: "I’ll talk about the different object relational mappers out there – Why 
the concept of ORM’s is a good idea but the real world performance 
problems that seem all to common as applications scale in production.
We’ll then do a comparison of the entity framework and NHibernate to 
some of the other options out there, including Dapper.
Dapper is a Micro ORM created by Stack Exchange (Stack Overflow) to 
address exactly these problems.

I’ll then show how easy it is to get started with Dapper (How can the 
creators of Stack Overflow be wrong?)
By the end of the talk you should have an understanding of Dapper, how 
to use it and a common repository style pattern I’ve seen adopted when 
using dapper.
We will be using C#, Mysql and possibly Sqlite as well as the Entity 
Framework, NHibernate, Dapper and Peta Poco."

Mark is a Software Development Manager who has worked on software 
projects from Military Communications to printing best before dates on 
ready meals. He favours the Microsoft Technology Stack, C#, MVC and Team 
Foundation Server, and is a Certified Scrum Master and Professional.

When he isn't ranting about code or Scrum he is trying to convince his 
two young daughters software development is cool.

Using .Net + Unity3D to Make Cross-Platform Games with Steve Higgs

“When I grow up I want to make line of business applications” - said no one ever. Lets unleash our inner children and use .net and unity to easily create games.

Topics covered:

What’s unity?
C# and unity
Using the asset store to work around the fact that I can’t draw

Steve does node, c# and other things for Opentable. In previous lives he has developed content management systems, factory control software and gambling apps. Can be a bit sweary.

Date: Wednesday 16th September 2015

Time: 18:30-20:30

Attendence is free. Drinks will be provided. All we ask is a small donation towards the pizza order if you want some pizza. :-)

Eventbrite - NEBytes September 2015 - Dapper + Unity

NEBytes August 2015 - There are 10 kinds of people in the world...

The magic hour has been and gone… Microsoft pushed the big green "go" button in the cloud and have unleashed the Ninja-cat riding a Bacon-Narwhale on a Unicorn surfing on the back of a T-rex software (incase you were wondering) known to the rest of the world as Windows 10!

Come along to the second NEBytes in our new home at Campus North where Jon Noble and Ben Lee will cover their thoughts and experiences to-date with Windows 10. Also they will talk and attempt to demo more of the upcoming Windows 10 mobile release – hopefully with more success than last time!

We’d love to hear your tales and experiences so come along ready to contribute. If you have any particularly interesting or exciting tales you want to share drop us a line – and we can give you a proper slot in the agenda.

As it is summer holiday season we will only be running the one slot this month which leaves more beer & pizza time after the event :)

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Ben & Jon.

Date: Wednesday 19th August 2015

Time: 18:30-20:30

Eventbrite - NEBytes August 2015 - There are 10 kinds of people in the world...

NEBytes April 2015 - Universal MS Previews

Happy post-Easter everyone...

Better late than never we're pleased to be making live our April event for 2015...


Date: Wednesday 15th April 2015

Time: 18:30-21:00

Session 1: Microsoft Preview

It's that time in Microsoft's development cycle where lots of new things are just round the corner and prehaps unprecedented in Microsoft's history they are sharing more and more information than ever before. As a Joe Public you are able to sign up and get preview access to:

  • Windows 10
  • Windows 10 preview for phones
  • Office 2016
  • Skype for Business

In this first session, Jon Noble, Ben Lee and Andrew Westgarth will cover the key points from the above upcoming product releases. They break their devices so you don't have to! :)

Session 2: Universal app per day to help prepare way for Windows 10

Peter Bull is a local developer living in Gateshead and has worked on a variety of development projects from an online second-hand book store to his own Windows Phone apps, one of which got over a quarter of a million downloads. This month he’s releasing a Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 Universal Application Tutorial each day, in this presentation he’ll cover how writing universal apps now (for Windows 8.1 / Phone 8.1) will bring you a step closer to being ready for Windows 10. Now that the promise of truly universal apps is about to be delivered Peter learned a lot from the process with Windows 8 and will share his knowledge with the group.

Eventbrite - NEBytes April 2015 - Universal MS Previews

NEBytes March 2015 - Evolving the IT Pro & surprise!

Hello All,

We're delighted to put live our event for March where are are partnering with the SharePoint User Group once again :)


Welcoming back to the stage MVP John Timney


Date: Wednesday 18th March 2015

Time: 18:30-21:00

Session 1: Evolving the IT Pro

What does SharePoint IT Pro version 2 look like?  How will you transform your skills to retain employment in the new world of cloud, hybrid and damned confusing IT?  What indeed even is this new world we are facing? Are we more fragmented as individuals, what place is there for developers, and what planning roles can an IT Pro evolve themselves into to ensure a career in SharePoint? 

Demand has never been higher for SharePoint staff, and yet many IT Pro's and Devs are simply unemployable in this new world.  Come and learn what skills you need to thrive in this rapidly evolving world that we face and consider how to evolve yourself from the IT Pro of old to the in-demand leading edge Hybrid professionals sought by the SharePoint IT and consulting industry. 

While you are here, learn what kind of salary these new roles we can place ourselves into might actually pay. Plan your next IT Pro career opportunity by joining me on a holistic overview of what it takes to be the IT Pro V2, understanding how the world is rapidly changing, what the new market is seeking, what roles are in demand, how to avoid recruiter snake oil, avoiding unicorns and even gathering some tips on finding the right staff for your SharePoint projects.  If you want a career in SharePoint VNext as IT Pro VNext, this is a must attend session!

Session 2: Surprise!

We've not quite confirmed session two but fear not, we have an amazing backup session just incase with Jon talking about DevOps

Eventbrite - NEBytes March 2015 - Evolving the IT Pro & surprise!

NEBytes Febuary 2015 - Xamarin on about Xamarin

Welcome back to a new year and an all new NEBytes event! Hopeful you will forgive our slight interruption to your normally scheduled NEBytes entertainment programming but I promise the wait will have been worth it!

We are very pleased to have along a great speaker from Xamarin themselves with not just a single talk but a double bill all about your favourite cross-platform mobile development platform...

Date: Wednesday 18th February 2015

Time: 18:30-21:00

Introducing Mike James (@micjames6):

The most recent addition to the Developer Evangelism team at Xamarin, Mike previously worked within the support department. Before joining Xamarin he worked within the entertainment control industry developing control systems for installations such as the London Eye. His passion grew for mobile when he was tasked with developing mobile apps for site engineers tocontrol the lighting on these installations. Currently Mike is responsible for engaging with the community in Europe and takes great pleasure in having the opportunity to meet customers face to face and present new technologies to them. Mike lives in the UK and enjoys music production, running and his Xbox One.

Mike will be presenting on two topics for us this month:

Session 1: Xamarin.Forms: Native iOS, Android, and Windows Phone apps from ONE C# Codebase

Building cross-platform native UIs with one shared codebase was once just a dream. With Xamarin.Forms, this dream is now a reality. Xamarin.Forms allows you to build a native UI for three platforms with one shared C# codebase. Simply put, if you know C# then you already know how to build iOS, Android, and Windows Phone apps. Leverage the .NET Framework to build out your shared business logic including integration with web services and Azure Mobile Services and then build out your shared UI in C# or XAML. Xamarin.Forms also features a built-in two-way data binding, dependency service to help you implement platform-specific code, an advanced cross-platform animation system, support for custom controls, and lots of other powerful features to help you build the best apps possible in the least amount of time.

During this session we will cover the Xamarin platform and the brand new Xamarin.Forms library to share even more code across iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.  Moreover, we will really focus on the code with several live coding adventures throughout the entire session. When you leave you will have the knowledge to create your first iOS, Android, and Windows Phone mobile apps in C# with Xamarin and Xamarin.Forms.

Session2: Automated UI Testing for iOS and Android Mobile Apps

An ever growing number of mobile devices with constantly advancing operating system releases are hitting the market at a lightning pace. Creating a comprehensive testing suite is imperative to success in the mobile market to ensure your app is of the highest quality with each and every release. Unit tests can only test your core business logic. How can you ensure your user interface is bulletproof and regression free on four versions of iOS on 20 devices or eight versions of android on over 18,000 device models! This is where creating automated user interface testing for mobile apps comes in.

Xamarin.UITest is a freely available testing framework that enables you to create user interface tests to programmatically interact with native and hybrid apps. Swipe, tap, or rotate any user interface element and then perform real world assertions and take screenshots for visual validation along the way. Learn how to create these tests and run them locally on your own device or simulator or take them to the Xamarin Test Cloud to automatically test your application on thousands of physical devices ensuring mobile success.

Now with your apps out in the wild how do you plan on monitoring your applications in real time for crash reporting and analytics? Xamarin Insights provides a fully cross-platform API for all of your mobile applications and even integrates into popular services such as GitHub and Visual Studio online for mission critical updates. Learn how to easily integrate Insights into your mobile applications and extend further with identity and service integration.

Event Location

The event will be hosted in Room 1.02 on the first floor of Claremont Tower at Newcastle University. For a detailed campus map -

Eventbrite - NEBytes Febuary 2015 - Xamarin on about Xamarin
Thanks to Ross Dargan for arranging this months talks.

NEBytes July 2014 - SecurityBytes

This event is kindly sponsored by Scott Logic:

We're pleased to announce that for NEBytes this July we will have a talk specially prepared by Ross Dargan and Ben Lee covering a range of interesting security items. Now most people wouldn't normally associate the words "interesting" and "security" with each other but actually the modern internet poses so some really fun problems that need to be solved if you want to protect yourself.


Basic internet security principals seem fairly straight forward until you start pretending (hah!) that someone has access to all of your communications. This is where crypto and security get interesting and there are some really elegant solutions to these problems out there…


In this session Ross and Ben will lay a quick foundation of the key principals used before covering a range of topics and questions such as...

  • How do you truly verify someone's identity without giving away too much information?
  • How can you agree a secure communication channel with someone in a public arena?
  • What happens next for internet communications?


The talk will be quite light hearted and demo ridden (that’s the plan anyway) so come along and join in - Tin foil hats optional

And we are pleased to have along for our second half Janine Weightman, Group Lead for Knowledge Management at Wellstream International Ltd who will present on: Harnessing SharePoint to drive a Knowledge Management strategy.

This session covers how to exploit the basic SharePoint functionality to create an enterprise collaboration and knowledge management platform designed for the business. We will discuss how we reshaped our organisational culture for better knowledge sharing and adoption of SharePoint. We will also cover some of the important lessons painfully gained from the implementation before finishing with a short Q&A.

Date: Wednesday 16th July2014

Time: 18:30-21:00

The event will be hosted in Room 1.02 of Claremont Tower at Newcastle University. For a detailed campus map -

Eventbrite - NEBytes July 2014 - SecurityBytes

NEBytes May 2014 - Emergency Lync 101 (cancelled)

Update: This event has been cancelled, we look forward to seeing you all in June...!

This event is kindly sponsored by Scott Logic:


Join North East Bytes for our fifth event of 2014 (that nearly didnt happen!)

We are a bit late announcing our event this month as we've have had some troubles getting things lined up ready for you. Unfortunately we've not been able to sort a dev speaker or specific topic but fear not instead of cancelling, our own Ben has some Lync content ready to go that he delivered on the recent MUCUGUK tour "A Day of Lync 2013" and has offered to step in.

It has also been TechEd North America so Andy and Ben will also run a mini re-cap session on the key bits of news... compressed into 30 minutes

Be warned the Lync content from Ben will be very similar to NeBytes from April 2013 so don't feel like you have to come along as you might have seen it before! However if you are interested in Lync, are considering deploying or know someone who is then Ben will be happy to answer any questions and go off on tangents about design or deployment questions.

Perhaps we will see you on the 21st! :)

Eventbrite - NEBytes May 2014 - Emergency Lync 101

NEBytes October 2013 - All about the SharePoint

Join North East Bytes at 18:30 on 16th October for our tenth event of 2013, this time round we are pleased to be partnering SUGUK North East.  After our hiyatus in September we have the pleasure of welcoming back Steve Smith who presented at our first ever NEBytes. We've given over both sessions to Steve with the aim of the evening being to provide everyone with information to help with your planning of a migration and upgrade to SharePoint 2013. Having the right information on how the new products differs to 2010 or 2007 is vital in preparing your test environments and planning for the actual production upgrade.


Session 1 - Upgrading SharePoint 2010 Content Databases to SharePoint 2013
Anyone who has tried an upgrade from previous versions of SharePoint know how painful it can be if the right research is not done. In this session I will go through the options available, the hardware and software requirements and walk through a database upgrade to 2013.
Session 2 - Scaling Search in SharePoint 2013
So now that we have upgraded our Farm let's look at one of the biggest architectural changes from one of the SharePoint 2010 Service applications and see how we scale search components in SharePoint 2013.

Steve Smith is the Director of Combined Knowledge, a specialist Sharepoint training consultancy.  Steve is a Sharepoint MVP and a prominent and very well known circuit speaker for the Sharepoint User Group in the UK

The event will be hosted in Room 1.02 of Claremont Tower at Newcastle University. For a detailed campus map -

Eventbrite - NEBytes October 2013 - All about the SharePoint

Sponsor – Access / VBA / SQL mini-project

The following post is by NEBytes sponsor -

Souter Trading International is an international trading business, who has successfully run their business on a line-of-business (LOB) application written in Access with VBA add-ons - for more than a decade.

The management of this business has worked with a database developer to create a system which captures all the business processes and logic, and which effectively tracks all transactions and creates an audit trail which is certified to ISO9001.

With the original database developer retiring, there is a requirement for an individual or business to pick up and understand this LOB application, with the work staged according to business priorities.

Phase 1 will be to fix several pressing issues with the current system.

Phase 2 will then be to hold discussions with the client about what their new requirements are and then advise on what the best course of action is, e.g. improve the Access solution; move to something based on SQL; or take it into the cloud via Azure or similar.

Then provide a spec and price for phase 2 & allow for on-going support - 1 day a month anticipated.

Phase 3 could be the exploration and commercialisation of the system for its resale to third parties using a SaaS model.

If you would like more information, or know someone who might be interested please contact Justin.